MLB Preview: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers

We expect an excellent game when the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers get together for the first game of a three game series in Los Angeles. Two of the top teams in the National League will look to move a step closer to the postseason in this battle. The road team, Washington Nationals are 77-58 and hold a 6 game lead on Atlanta in the National League East. The Nationals are 34-33 in games played away from home. The Dodgers come into the game with a 77-60 record; but lead the San Francisco Giants by just 2.5 games in the National League West. Los Angeles is 34-32 at home.

Los Angeles is coming off a 7-1 win over the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers are turning to 34 year old right handed starter Roberto Hernandez as their starting pitcher in this one. Hernandez is making his fifth start with the Dodgers. In his first four starts, Hernandez has thrown 23 innings, allowing 20 hits and 9 earned runs. The Dodgers have split the first four games that he has started. Los Angeles offensively is led by Yaisel Puig, who is batting .298. As a team, the Dodgers are hitting .259, which is sixth best in all of Major League Baseball. The power numbers have come from veteran first base men Adrian Gonzalez. He has blasted 19 homeruns, while driving in 91 runs. The Dodgers are third in all of MLB with 87 quality starts from their starting pitchers.

The Washington Nationals will turn to their 28 year old lefthander Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez is 6-9 on the season with an ERA under 4.00. Gonzalez has not picked up a win since his start on July 5th against the Cubs. In his last three starts, he has picked up no decisions, despite throwing 18 innings. Gio Gonzalez has struck out 131, while walking 51 on the season. In his career he holds a 76-57 record.  The Nationals starting pitchers have recorded 83 quality starts; which is 7th most in Major League Baseball. The team holds a 3.11 earned run average; second in all of baseball. Washington, offensively has found clutch at bats, as they lead the National League in last at bat wins. The Nationals are led by Denard Span, who is batting .298 on the season. Ian Desmond, surprisingly leads Nationals in homeruns and runs batted in with 21 and 81 respectively.

This is the final game on Labor Day Monday. They have saved the best for last, because these are arguably the top two teams in the National League. Is this a preview of the National League Championship Series? The Giants, Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates have something to say about that, as three of those teams will join in the mix. This should be a pretty solid game. Typically, we would love all over Gio Gonzalez as the starting pitcher in this one. But, something has not went right with Gonzalez the second half of the season. We like this to be a low scoring game, with a couple late hits by the Dodgers to come away with the win. We are betting the Los Angeles Dodgers -103 over the Washington Nationals -101.

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